Customer Persona- Guide to creating a delightful customer experience for the new age hyper-connected audience.

Customer Persona- Guide to creating a delightful customer experience for the new age hyper-connected audience.

Parneet Kaur
30 January 2017

customer persona- Meltwater

We all know the ultimate goal of every business is to sell but in the new age business methodology the word ‘sell’ has been replaced by the phrase ‘solve a problem’. Keeping this in mind, businesses have now become a solution powerhouse. But how do we identify these challenges? The answer is simple- by knowing your customer inside out. So let’s look at a methodology to understand your target audience by creating personas especially for the new age hyper connected consumer.

Buyer Persona Defined

Customer/buyer personas are a fictitious representation of real people that your business would like to service. Businesses can have multiple personas depending on the nature, size and offerings. For e.g. for an e-commerce clothing retailer, a persona can be created for millennials and another for baby boomers and if required it can be broken down into millennials in their teens and millennials in late twenties. A valuable tip is to ensure that the characteristics of these personas do not overlap. A business can start with 2-3 personas but can expand as and when new trend patterns are noticed within clients and prospects or when new service offerings or products are launched.

Importance of personas

The digital world has given rise to new channels such as apps and e-commerce websites through which people are easily serviced by a click of a few buttons. This has changed the way consumers shop therefore, businesses need to adapt and change the way they sell or rather how they create value for these ‘on-the-go’ shoppers. Classifying and segmenting according to the various buyer personas can dramatically improve business results by providing relevant and personalized solutions. They can help in:

  • Defining your overall marketing and nurturing strategy for the various segments.
  • Syncing your content calendar for each type of segment
  • Finding appropriate and relevant influencers to attract each persona
  • Identifying the right of channels and timings for communication with different personas.
  • Designing the right pitch for prospects forming the base of a sales strategy
  • Personalizing and customizing which is attractive for the on-demand consumer.

Steps to creating a buyer persona:

Market surveys and interviews have been the traditional way of creating buyer personas. They cannot be ignored but the hyper connected customer is complex, expressive and collaborative therefore, we need more than just the traditional ways to understand them.

  1. Leveraging online listening:

The hyper connected and collaborative consumer communicates on several different platforms for completing various errands. For e.g. for entertainment they might engage on Facebook, for lodging a complaint they might look to forums or Twitter, for professional engagement to LinkedIn and for expressing views on topics towards blogging. These avenues offer heaps of raw data therefore listening to these Outside Insights can help derive valuable information. Media monitoring tools can help you understand the topics of conversation, tonality, lifestyle- hobbies/aspirations, network and groups your audience interacts with, what they read, their personal and professional goals, their needs and wants, challenges they face at work or at home, demographics and other trends and intelligence that you are meaning to derive to create a specific persona. By identifying common traits one can make assumptions and judgment of these personas that help identify where the product offering would fit in their professional or personal life which in turn helps in determining the sales strategy and value pitch.

  1. Don’t be afraid to connect & engage

Leverage the digital communities to talk to your audience. Just like listening, engagement is important when it comes to knowing your audience. Similar to interviews, these can be used to interact with your audience through various platforms. Engagement solutions such as mEngage allow you to manage all social platforms under one roof along with tagging features that can help in segmenting by personas.

  1. Analyze the competition

Online media monitoring can unveil important information regarding your competitors. By studying the negative and positive experiences of your competitor’s customers, you can learn more about your audience especially if you are a new or budding business. This will also help in deciding the USP and in eventually standing out against your competitor.

  1. Analyze existing customers and prospects

Analyzing the existing database that consumes the content and services for common traits and trends. Engaging with this audience can help understanding their needs and additionally in building a relationship. A key tip- the new age customers like being heard.

  1. Consider negative personas

You know what you want, but don’t forget what you don’t want. This can be rather crucial and help save resources. It is important to identify and negate this audience from your sales and marketing funnel for e.g. students or low budget start-ups.

  1. In person interviews

The traditional process cannot be ignored especially when the persona is a Gen X member. If the persona is reachable, personal interaction can play a strategic role in building relationships and in defining customer profiles.

  1. Include sales and customer service team in the process

As these teams have maximum interaction with the clients and prospects, their insights cannot be ignored. Take their help in identifying the characteristics of your personas and help them in designing a value proposition best suited for these personas.

By following these tips and steps businesses can understand their customers and implement targeted and relevant business strategies within the organization. Satisfying and delighting the customer is no more the responsibility of one department but rather a goal of all employees. By sharing the buyer personas across all levels in the organization, one can align all departments to work collaboratively to achieve the mission of delighting customers.